Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves flying. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. So join us each week as he takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs.
Click on any of the titles below to magically head over to Amazon.com and pick up the DVD. And don’t forget to check out Neil Miller’s hilariously titled This Week In Blu-ray column for reviews on the latest high definition Blu-ray releases!
Pitch: Yes, I’m still calling this an Oscar-nominated movie even though it lost in every single category…
Why Buy? Oscar losses and inexplicable backlash be damned! This is a really good movie anchored by a trio of fantastic performances. Clooney portrays a man who discovers his happiness is false and that all he has is his job that sends him around the country firing people for corporations and bosses too weak to do it themselves. His realization comes after two women invade his life in very different capacities, and his decision to reach for something more comes with unexpected consequences. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick co-star.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes
Pitch: He’s basically Batman sans costume, gadgets, and murdered parents…
Why Rent? I’m a fan of TV shows from the eighties featuring private eyes. “Simon & Simon”, “Hardcastle and McCormick”, “Crazy Like A Fox”… they’re just good, old-fashioned entertainment filled with light-hearted mysteries, one-liners, and fairly predictable setups. “Matt Houston” is one of the lesser known examples of the genre, but it’s still good fun. Houston is a Texas billionaire transplanted to LA where he runs multiple businesses including a private detective agency.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Kate Jackson was the sexiest Angel. This is an inarguable fact…
Why Rent? Think of this as the precursor to movies like True Lies or Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And then rent it for almost the same reasons I’ve listed above for “Matt Houston.” No, the shows aren’t similar in the least, but they’re both products of the eighties and therefore inherently entertaining. (I realize that doesn’t always equal good, but the first season of this fun and harmless show is definitely entertaining.)
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Yet another example of the evils of religion and other mass delusions…
Why Rent? An Iranian woman is falsely accused of adultery, and under Sharia law is sentenced to stoning. The movie tells the woman’s story and shows the pain and ridiculous evil behind each step along the way. Seriously, forget Precious with all it’s faux melodrama and pat conclusion… this film is the far superior and far more affecting story. It’s also a true story which makes it that much more powerful.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurette
Pitch: It took Troy Duffy ten years to rebuild the bridges he burned on the first film with Hollywood, critics, and folks with good taste in movies…
Why Avoid? Duffy’s sophomore film is an easy target for criticism because frankly, it isn’t very good. After the first film managed to build a cult following on DVD the road to a sequel went from vague threat to inevitable reality, and ten years later we have more of the same wrapped up in a lesser film. I don’t mind the derogatory and unfunny jokes, but I do mind the complete lack of creativity, character, and style. Fans of the first will undoubtedly flock to the sequel and probably enjoy it, but if you weren’t as enamored the first time around go watch Shoot ‘Em Up again if you’re jonesing for brainless and logic-free gunplay.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurette
Pitch: Remember when Robin Williams was funny and John Travolta danced? This flick hopes you do…
Why Avoid? If you absolutely have to rent this, pop it in, skip to the special features, watch the bloopers, then get it the hell out of your DVD player before it infects the machine with some disgusting virus. The fact that this movie makes director Walt Becker’s last film (Wild Hogs) look like pure comedy genius is all you really need to know.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, bloopers
Pitch: Wasn’t this an episode of “Ghost Whisperer”…
Why Avoid? Sarah Michelle Geller had a hit with her Japanese remake of The Grudge, but subsequent attempts to tap the horror market have failed for the TV star. Part of the problem appears to be her selection of scripts… both The Return and Possession (a Korean remake) are sloooooooooow as fudge. To make matters worse when things do finally happen they’re either utterly predictable or terribly uninteresting. The singular bright spot here is that Lee Pace is pretty good.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes, featurette
Pitch: This flick is an emotionless chore to watch…
Why Avoid? I know I’m in the minority with this question, but what exactly is the appeal of this melodramatic flick? Is it the stereotypical and one-dimensional performance of Mo’Nique? The hilariously-shot rape scenes? The terribly unsympathetic lead character? The comically unrelenting bleakness? Wah wah wah. Of course, on the plus side… it is funnier than Old Dogs.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scene, featurettes
Also out this week, but review material unavailable in advance: Capitalism: A Love Story, Clownstrophobia, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, Haunted Echoes, The Memory Thief, Nine Dead, Paris, Planet 51, Rot: Reunion of Terror
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?